By Andrew Starke

Licensed venues may be encouraged to set up shop in fringe suburbs like Walsh Bay, Glebe, and Newtown to ease the burden on central precincts the City of Sydney council believes are already saturated with such establishments.

Sydneysiders also want better transport, a more diverse mix of venues and later retail trade to improve Sydney's night life according to online community consultation on the city's late night policy undertaken by the council.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the site has attracted close to 4,000 visitors in less than three weeks, with over 200 people contributing ideas, agreeing with or commenting on the ideas of others.

"The response to our online forum has been overwhelmingly positive," the Lord Mayor said.

"We've had ideas pouring in from a diverse mix of residents, workers, visitors and businesses, and this is key to what we're doing because we want a late night economy that works for everyone.

Suzie Matthews, the City of Sydney's Late Night Economy Manager said the web-based consultation technique allowed people to post comments in real time and then 'agree' or 'disagree' with other people's posts.

"We're seeing plenty of interaction, and all of our findings are being shared in an open manner," she said.

"One of the more popular discussion threads has been "What's working around the world that you'd like to see in Sydney?" where more than 200 people have had something to say – and this is exactly the type of feedback we're looking for to shape our policy.

"Some of the many suggestions have included; night markets and more outdoor events to take advantage of Sydney's summer climate, such as music and exhibitions.

"Calls for late night retail cafes, galleries, gardens and more outdoor venues staying open past traditional trading hours have also been well-supported.

"Public transport continues to be flagged as an important issue – if people don't feel they can easily get home they will be less likely to stay in town after work or events."

The majority (58 percent) of the online respondents to date have been from within the 18-35 year old age group.

Of those who have responded to a separate online poll, 80 percent have called for more cultural attractions, museums and galleries and 73 percent have said better transport would make them come to town at night more often. Another 64 percent said they would like shops open later.

The Lord Mayor said community forums in city villages also kick off this week, following a roundtable with representatives from a range of sectors and an industry forum.

"What we are hearing from residents so far is that they think the precincts already saturated with licensed venues need to be better managed and activation should be encouraged in new locations such as Walsh Bay, Glebe, and Newtown.

"We're now taking the forum offline and opening the discussion to more localised issues in each of the city villages," the Lord Mayor said.

To have your say, click here.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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